There are a number of area organizations that focus their attention on serving the needs of America’s veterans -- one uses horses to help.
HEAL Foundation is dedicated to serving the nation’s military, veterans, first responders and their families.
They provide individual, group and family equine facilitated psychotherapy services using the EAGALA model. Their home base is a 52-acre farm in Catlett called HorsePower Farm. The group also offers half- and full-day retreats for veterans, military families and first responder groups to experience equine facilitated learning.
The emphasis in this equine facilitated learning is to expose participants to the benefits of working with horses, team building and experiential learning; strengthening resilience and improving coping skills.
All HEAL sessions are facilitated by an equine specialist and a licensed mental health professional to ensure the physical and emotional safety of participants. The mental health professional works with therapy patients to develop goals and a treatment plan to guide each session. When working with retreat groups in equine learning sessions, the mental health professional is present to ensure that participants are supported through the process as the activities may stir an emotional response even though this is not the intended goal of this type of work.
Located at 8366 Old Nokesville Road in Catlett, HEAL Foundation holds an open house in the fall. Visit www.heal.foundation or phone 571-445-0221 for more information.
Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-5th) was in Warrenton recently meeting with several board members of Hero’s Bridge, a nonprofit dedicated to serving elderly veterans, age 65 and older.
“I love what you’re doing,” said Riggleman as he discussed veterans’ issues with co-founders Molly Brooks and Dave Benhoff and board member Rick Heppard.
Riggleman praised the ongoing work being done at places like the University of Virginia in telehealth options. All in the informal gathering agreed that improvements in infrastructure are key to the success of a myriad of programs that require high-speed internet, particularly as they affect veterans.
“So, what can I help you with?” asked Riggleman. Brooks responded that they would like his help in seeing that Congress holds the Mission Act accountable. Virginia launched new health care options under the Mission Act in June 2019. Establishing a new Veterans Community Care Program, the act will strengthen the nationwide VA Health Care System by empowering veterans with more health care options, expanding benefits for caregivers and improving the ability to recruit and retain the best medical providers.
Riggleman was impressed with their ideas about bringing veterans’ care back to the communities where they live and increasing stipends for caregivers. He welcomed their “writing up a course of action” in that regard. “I’m here to work for you guys,” said Riggleman, “I want to hear your ideas.”
Hero’s Bridge has six distinct programs to assist veterans in Fauquier and neighboring counties. They include: Battle Buddy Program, Honor Guard, Resource Scouts, Paw Patrol, Corps of Engineers and Rapid Relief Corps. To learn more about Hero’s Bridge, visit www.herosbridge.org.